Guatemalan Pays $280 Fine for Fatal Crash that Killed FBI Agent and Fire Marshal

 In Domestic, opinion

In June, a Guatemalan was given a fine of $280 and no jail time for negligent driving that caused the deaths of an FBI agent and a deputy state Fire Marshal in Maryland. Negligent driving is a citation and punishable by a fine of $280 and “three points against his driver’s license.” He was arrested by ICE.

FBI agent Carlos Wolff, 36, crashed his vehicle on  Interstate 270.  Fire Marshal Sander Cohen, 33, stopped to help him at the side of the road. Garza Palacios drove up, swerved to miss their cars, and hit both men, killing them.

Sander Cohen was deputy chief of the Maryland State Police Fire Marshal’s Office. Carlos Wolff was a supervisory special agent.

Prosecutors stated that Palacios drove in a “careless and imprudent manner” but that it didn’t rise to the level of a more serious offense. Police determined that no alcohol or drugs were involved.

“This case is about an unfortunate accident. Mr. Garza Palacios feels terrible about the situation.” Asim A. Humayun, Palacios’ attorney– as reported by Fox News

If that were all there was, we’d probably believe him and move on. But that’s not the whole story.

Garza Palacios, 28, was arrested by immigration officials for overstaying his work visa that expired in 2009. A detainer was filed for him back in 2015, but  county officials did not honor it and released him.

Fox5 reported,

“ICE previously lodged a detainer with Montgomery County authorities in August 2015 after Garza Palacios was arrested on local charges. ICE said Garza Palacios was subsequently released from Montgomery County custody, but were not notified about it.”

Palacios had been arrested for impaired driving in 2015, and served about 4 months in jail after he was arrested for vandalizing car windows and lighting a couch on fire.  So he was no stranger to violating the law.

Why did Palacios even have a driver’s license? His visa expired in 2009, which means he was no longer authorized to be in the US.

In most cases where a driver kills other people, there are charges of vehicular manslaughter. The person is not always convicted of that offense, but a fine of $280 for killing two people seems a little out of place, even if no drugs or alcohol were involved.


Featured photo: screenshot via Fox5

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